Honors Thesis Information
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SENIOR HONORS THESIS and GRADUATION WITH HONORS
Students wishing to graduate with departmental honors in Art History or Urban Design and Architecture Studies must write a Senior Honors Thesis. The process of writing a thesis requires students to master a body of existing scholarship, to conduct in-depth scholarly research, and to write a long text (ca. 40 pages) presenting an original analysis of a topic. The thesis should present new information and complex ideas of interest to specialists, while being written in clear language accessible to non-specialists. It is a formidable task, serving as a capstone to students’ undergraduate studies and as a first essay of the type required in graduate or professional school.
Admission to the Senior Honors Thesis program requires a GPA of 3.65 or higher in Art History/Urban Design courses and also an overall grade point average in CAS of at least 3.65. However, the required GPA is not, by itself, sufficient for admission to the Honors Thesis program.
The Spring 2017 deadline for proposals is Thursday, March 2nd, 2017. After this date, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Art History) or the Director of the Urban Design and Architecture Studies Program review all applications, and they will consult with the faculty and the department chair to decide whom to admit into the senior honors thesis program. Applications will be approved only if the Director and the Chair are convinced that students have proposed a significant topic and are capable of completing the thesis with distinction.
Students accepted into the Senior Honors Thesis program will register for a 4-point seminar during the fall semester of senior year. In spring semester, senior year, they will take a 4-point Independent Study with their faculty advisor. Students writing theses are expected to meet regularly with their advisor throughout the year, including the months when they are taking the Honors Thesis seminar.
Students will receive grades for the Honors Thesis seminar and for the Independent Study. The awarding of honors, however, is a separate process. Students must submit their completed thesis to their advisor at least four weeks before the last day of class in the spring semester. The
advisor will invite two other faculty members to read the thesis. Students will then meet with all three readers to conduct an oral defense of their thesis. This should be scheduled, in consultation with the faculty advisor, to take place before the last day of spring classes.
It is only at the conclusion of the oral defense that the committee, as a whole, will decide what honors, if any, the students should be granted. To receive honors, students must have maintained a GPA of 3.65 or higher throughout senior year. The committee may award no honors, Honors, or High Honors.